Democracy Coming to America

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Activists seize control of politics” hails the headline in The Politico.

What does that mean? People fed up with big-moneyed interests and voting their preferences are “activists” seizing control.

Hey Tea Partiers, drop your bigotry and we’ll do some business!

By JOHN F. HARRIS and JIM VANDEHEI

For any politician with the usual instincts for self-protection, the lessons of Tuesday’s primaries could not be more clear: This could happen to you.

Arlen Specter lost in Pennsylvania even though the party-switching Democrat was recruited and backed by a sitting president. Rand Paul won in Kentucky even though the Republican was regarded as an eccentric renegade by that state’s political establishment.

The 2010 electorate has swallowed an emetic—disgorging in a series of retching convulsions officeholders in both parties who seem to embody conventional Washington politics.

The anti-establishment, anti-incumbent fevers on display Tuesday are not new. The ideologically charged, grassroots activists flexing their muscle in this week’s primary showdowns are the same breed as primary voters who four years ago stripped the Democratic nomination away from Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who later won as an independent.

What’s now clear, in a way that wasn’t before, is that these results reflect a genuine national phenomenon, not simply isolated spasms in response to single issues or local circumstances.

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